He'd love to return as Shaft and he's hoping to turn up in "XXX 2" but the sequel that's got movie buffs chattering the most about Samuel L. Jackson is "Star Wars Episode III."
In the final installment of George Lucas' fantasy series, due in May 2005, Jackson will reprise his role as Jedi Master Mace Windu. It is widely accepted "Star Wars" lore that all of the Jedi, save for Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, will meet their end in "Episode III." Jackson has gone on record saying he hopes to "not go out like a punk." And recently, he got a cryptic indication that he may be getting his wish.
"I did get an e-mail from the stunt coordinator," he explained, "who said he'd like for me to show up a little early because he has some things we want to work out. So I guess that sounds like I'm gonna go out in a blaze of glory. I'm looking forward to it."
For now, the 54-year-old actor has plenty of other projects on his plate. He recently shot a cameo in "Kill Bill," the latest flick from Quentin Tarantino, the filmmaker responsible for Jackson's famous turn as hit man Jules in "Pulp Fiction" (see "Quentin Tarantino Makes Uma Thurman Dress Like Bruce Lee").
He's currently filming "S.W.A.T.," based on a short-lived 1970s cop show, alongside Irish actor Colin Farrell ("Minority Report"). And if he gets his way, Jackson will return as agent Augustus Gibbons in the "XXX" sequel currently in development (see "Vin Diesel Ain't Goin' Nowhere: 'Pitch Black,' 'XXX' Sequels In Works").
In last year's action blockbuster, Jackson played government boss to Vin Diesel's counter-cultural-extreme-athlete-turned-secret-agent. "I would like to think that they are going to flesh out the story of Mr. Gibbons in some way," he said. "So you'll find out why I had that scar on my face."
And as for whether or not he'll build a franchise out of "Shaft" — the 2000 remake of the 1971 blaxploitation detective film that spawned "Shaft's Big Score!" (1971), "Shaft in Africa" (1973) and a TV series — "that's a question for Paramount," he said with a grin. "Right now I'm pressing on with everything else that I have going and not worrying about it. [But] hopefully it'll come along."